Here’s what I’ve read in 2019:
*The Wife, by Alafair Barke. A page-turner with a little too-much legalese and a surprising twist at the end.
*Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi. Absolutely fantastic! A great book to read prior to going to the National Museum of African American Art and Culture. (I had my older daughter read it, too.)
*Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Art of Good Cooking, by Samin Nosrat. Samin is awesome!!! I totally have a girlcrush on her. Also, buy the book. It’s entirely, wonderfully, practical. (If you haven’t seen her Netflix show, DO.)
*An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones. Interesting.
*The Best Cook in the World: Tales from my Momma’s Southern Table, by Rick Bragg. Captivating and humorous. Fun story-telling, interesting culture. Good recipes. Finally mastered collard greens and ham and beans!
*Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism, by Drew Hart. A bit tedious, but some helpful anecdotes and insights.
*The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank. More depressing than I’d remembered.
*The Diary of Anne Frank: the play, by Francis Goodrich and Albert Hackett. Being Mrs. Frank was more fun than I thought it’d be.
*Just Mercy: a Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson. Intense, painful, eye-opening. Made me want to do something, like become a lawyer or something equally improbable.
*The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer. A pleasant read.
*Girls Burn Brighter, by Shobha Rao. Well-written, but disturbing and not very satisfying. I had to force myself to get through it.
*Heartbreaker, by Claudia Dey. Odd, but okay.
*Girl in Translation, by Jean Kwok. An easy, enjoyable read.
*Deathtrap: A Thriller in Two Acts, by Ira Levin. Fast and fun. (I read it because I was thinking of auditioning for the play, but then I didn’t.)
*Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes, by Elizabeth Bard. Good writing with a so-so story. I didn’t feel like I gained new insights, and the recipes didn’t tempt.
*Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee. A tightly-woven and well-told story that touches on a staggering number of complicated issues.
*Where We Come From, by Oscar Casares. About the current immigration situation: a close-up, compassionate look at one small piece of the story.
*Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo. This is a book that begs to be discussed: if you have a book club, put it on the list.
*Ask Again, Yes, by Mary Beth Keane. Super good and refreshingly understated.
*Slow Man, by J.M. Coetzee. So many words and soooooo slow. I’m amazed that I had the patience to read it, and even more amazed that he had the patience to write it. I’m still not sure what it was about.
*I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, by Nora Ephron. Easy and entertaining. I like her writing style — it loosens me.
*White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In Between, by Judy Batalion. Excellent book (that did drag on a wee bit too long) with great writing that made me feel inferior about my own.
*Travel Light, Move Fast, by Alexandra Fuller. Good book with a devastating ending.
*The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne. Started super strong; drug on forever: meh.
*Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention, by Donna Freitas. Too long and wordy — would’ve appreciated more of a story — but eye-opening.
*Olive, Again, by Elizabeth Strout. Perfect and wonderful and lovely. I’m an Olive fan (though I don’t really like her).
*Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone, edited and compiled by Jenni Ferrari-Adler. An enjoyable, behind-the-scenes look at what food writers eat when they’re alone. Made me happy.
*A Life of My Own, by Claire Tomalin. A fascinating life told tediously.
*The Girl With Seven Names, by Hyeonseo Lee. I learned loads about North Korea.
*I’m Lying But I’m Telling the Truth, by Bassey Ikpi. Excellent, up-close look at mental illness (though I did get a little lost at the end….)
What have you been reading?
Got anything good to recommend?
P.S. I’m in dire need of good read-alouds to share with my younger son (almost 14). Preferably, I’d like to skip the war-and-disaster-and-sex books in favor of well-written comedy and/or the meaningful ordinary, books like Anne of Green Gables or Harris and Me or Holes or Where the Lilies Bloom or Counting by 7s. Both old-time classics and new gems welcome, please and thank you! xo